General Motors is reevaluating the future of Corvette Racing amid changing class structures in both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and FIA WEC.
Laura Wontrop Klauser
The GT Le Mans (GTLM) class that Corvette Racing currently competes in full-time in the IMSA series will feature only three full-time entries this year – two of which will be entered by Chevrolet. As such, newly appointed Chevrolet sports car program manager Laura Wontrop Klauser has been busy assessing the sports car racing landscape as she tries to determine where Corvette Racing may compete going forward.
Speaking to Sportscar365, Wontrop Klauser revealed Corvette is open to participating in either the GT3 sports car or LMDh prototype classes. Chevrolet has not yet decided which route it would like to go, but it knows one thing for sure: the Corvette nameplate must continue to compete in top-level racing classes.
“We have explored all of the options and they’re still on the table,” Wontrop Klauser said. “What we need to understand is where we want to position the key brands that we have in racing, Corvette being one of them. Racing is in Corvette’s DNA. For sure we need to have Corvette on the grid somewhere, but understanding what capacity that’s going to be, that’s been part of figuring things out.”
“We’re still finalizing the details on what we want to see from a vision standpoint,” she said. “We’re hoping to be able to start having some announcements in that arena soon.”
An IMSA/ACO rendering of a potential LMDh race car
The LMDh prototype class is a joint effort between IMSA and the ACO, which is the sanctioning body that oversees the 24 Hours of Le Mans. If Corvette Racing were to develop a hybrid prototype car under the LMDh ruleset, it would be able to compete for the overall win at Le Mans, a highly appealing proposition for any sports car manufacturer. This would also allow it to compete against well-respected manufacturers like Audi and Porsche.
“The fact that [LMDh] has been a joint effort between the ACO and IMSA makes it very appealing,” Wontrop Klauser told Sportscar365. “We’ve always wanted to go back to Le Mans in the top class as we have some unfinished business there.”
“But it’s one of the things that in order to get programs like that through GM, you have to first figure out what you want to do, then get leadership on board and then leadership has to figure out ways to fund all this stuff.”
A GT3 program would look a lot different. The GT3 class requires manufacturers to build a large number of customer cars for teams to purchase and run on their own accord. A factory-backed effort like Corvette Racing could still exist under the GT3 ruleset, but Chevrolet would also have to sell GT3-spec Corvettes to other teams. Pratt & Miller has already performed a feasibility study for a GT3 Corvette program, but Wontrop Klauser did not share the team’s conclusions.
“There’s a lot going on at GM and how we need to decide how we slot in and what programs make sense financially,” she said.
SOURCE: GM AUTHORITY